INEC cautions against harassment of its officials as police invite Edo REC


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reacted to reports that Johnson Alalibo Sinikiem, its resident electoral commissioner (REC) in Edo, was arrested by the police.


The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo state had reportedly written a petition to the state police, accusing Sinikiem of forging primary election results.


Reports online said he had thereafter been arrested by the police and detained.


The police command has, however, described the alleged arrest as “fake news”.


Reacting in a statement on Friday, Festus Okoye, INEC commissioner for information and voter education, confirmed that the REC was invited by the police, but added that “he was neither detained nor is he personally under investigation as media reports suggested”.


“While we welcome the clarification by the Police Command, we wish to point out that any other official of the Commission assigned by the REC could have provided the required insight. Alternatively, a visit to our State Office by the Commissioner of Police or his assigned representative could have achieved the same goal as has been the tradition in our collaborative relationship with security agencies,” the statement reads.


“For emphasis, our REC in Edo State, Dr Johnson Alalibo Sinikiem, is a conscientious public officer and co-chairman of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) at state level. He was the sitting REC when the last Governorship election was conducted in Edo State on 19th September 2020 which was adjudged to be free, fair and credible.


 “Any action capable of creating the impression of harassment of our officials or infringement of the independence of the Commission must be avoided, especially at this critical period of our preparations for the 2023 General Election.”

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